02 April 2016

Saturday in the Easter Octave

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
-St. Mark 16:9-15

This portion of St. Mark’s Gospel outlines the duties of the Church which Christ had founded, the tasks committed to it by Jesus himself.

It states very clearly that the Church has the duty to spread the truth of the gospel. As members of the Church we are Christ’s heralds, we are His ambassadors.

It outlines an understanding of the sacramental ministry of the Church: to baptize, to make people whole by means of the power that Jesus had bestowed upon the Church.

And we are reminded that the Church is never alone in its work; it is the Body of Christ, and Christ works with it and in it and through it. So St. Mark’s Gospel finishes with the message that the life of the Christian is lived in the presence and in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who was crucified and who rose again in great triumph over sin, the world, and the devil.

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for that thou hast delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and hast brought us unto the kingdom of thy Son: and we pray thee that, as by his death he hath recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to joys eternal; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.